New COVID cases, hospitalizations rising in Rhode Island

Rhode Island Education Commissioner Angélica Infante-Green listens as Governor Gina Raimondo speaks during her weekly Covid-19 update September 23, 2020 at the Veterans Memorial Auditorium. Pool photo by Sandor Bodo / The Providence Journal

PROVIDENCE, R.I. (AP) — The number of new coronavirus cases in Rhode Island continues to rise, while the number of people hospitalized has reached its highest level in a month, the state Department of Health reported Thursday.

The department reported 139 new confirmed cases and four more virus-related deaths, for totals of more than 24,300 known case and 1,106 fatalities.

The seven-day rolling average of daily new cases in Rhode Island has how risen over the past two weeks from more than 85 on Sept. 9 to 117 on Wednesday, according to the Johns Hopkins University Center for Systems Science and Engineering.

Gov. Gina Raimondo on Wednesday blamed outbreaks among students at Providence College and the University of Rhode Island, as well as the state’s aggressive testing program, for the rising number of cases. Providence College had reported more than 190 positive cases as of Wednesday, almost all students.

The new cases reported Thursday were out of more than 9,700 tests, a positivity rate of about 1.4%.

The seven-day rolling average of the positivity rate in Rhode Island has risen over the past two weeks from slightly less than 1% on Sept. 9 to 1.56% on Wednesday, according to Johns Hopkins.

The number of people hospitalized with the disease was 94 as of Tuesday, the latest day for which the information was available, the highest single-day total since Aug. 25. Eight of those patients were in intensive care.

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SENIORS TO RETURN EARLY

The Providence public school system is bringing high school seniors back to the classroom two weeks earlier than originally planned, in part to help them with the college application process.

Seniors, who have been learning remotely, will now return to the classroom starting next Tuesday, rather than Oct. 13 as originally planned, school officials said.

To accommodate the early return of seniors, the district is delaying the return of sophomore’s until Oct. 13.

Each high school grade has been split into two groups, with one attending in person while the other group attends virtually, each for half the day. The schedule allows schools to reduce the number of students in the building at any one time.